Railroad Workers' Rights and Protections: Workers’ Compensation or FELA?

State workers’ compensation laws do NOT cover railroad employees who work for railroads doing business in interstate commerce. Instead, the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) is a federal statute specifically intended to cover railroad employees who are injured on the job – and in almost every case, it’s even better than workers’ compensation. While workers’ compensation claims are filed through the worker’s insurance company, FELA lawsuits are filed directly in either state or federal court – typically with the help of a dedicated and experienced FELA lawyer.

That’s where Roven Camp comes in.

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FELA Lawsuits

FELA was passed by Congress in 1908 as a way to ensure railroad workers are guaranteed a safe workplace. The Act allows railroad workers and their families to recover the compensation they need when injured in a work-related accident on the railroad. In order to qualify for FELA, an injured railroad worker must be able to prove the following:

  1. The railroad is engaged in interstate commerce (either running across state lines or dealing with interstate freight).
  2. The injury to the worker results from the negligence or carelessness of the railroad. 

This can be through the actions of an officer, agent, contractor, or employee of the railroad. In some cases, the injury is caused by a rule or policy violation or a defect in the railroad’s cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, or any other equipment. 

A knowledgeable FELA attorney can help you assess the facts of your injury to determine whether a case can be made against the railroad.

What Are Railroad Workers Entitled to Under FELA?

If an injured railroad worker is able to prove the above elements, they will be eligible for one of the many types of damages FELA provides, including:

  • Economic losses: lost earnings, earning capacity, medical expenses, and lost benefits (including health insurance and retirement benefits)
  • Non-economic losses: pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of guidance and support of family members

Railroad employees have three years from the date they knew or should have known that they were injured and that their injury was caused by the railroad to file a lawsuit under FELA.

There is no predetermined schedule of payments or cap on damages under FELA. The only caveat with FELA is that punitive damages (damages that serve to punish the railroad company or negligent party in an injury) are generally not allowed.

Railroad Union Resources

Roven Camp is dedicated to leveraging union resources to strengthen the support network for injured railroad workers. We are the designated legal counsel for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET). We also collaborate with and have represented employees of other prominent unions, including, but not limited to, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWED), Transportation Communications Union (TCU), and the Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation (SMART). With over 50 years of experience, the attorneys at Roven Camp have represented members of every railroad craft and union in various injury claims. By partnering with these influential unions, we ensure that our clients have access to a robust framework of assistance, advocacy, and resources, reinforcing their position in pursuing justice after a railroad injury.

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Contact Roven Camp Today

If you're a railroad worker and have suffered an injury, don't navigate the complexities alone. Roven Camp has extensive experience navigating FELA claims and union resources to support you in understanding your rights, exploring legal options, and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Roven Camp today; we're ready to stand by your side, amplify your voice, and, together, contribute to a safer workplace.

CALL NOW: 800-997-1505

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When you’re injured and your family’s livelihood is at stake, it might seem like your employer or insurance companies hold all the power to make key decisions that impact your life. Not true. There are laws that protect you. We know your legal rights. We will help you.

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